Gander Mountain retail sales gain 11.6 percent in Q1

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gander Mountain Company reports retail sales gained 11.6 percent for the quarter ended May 2, reflecting strong performance in firearms, ammunition, marine and camping.

“The seasonal nature of Gander Mountain’s retail categories historically produces a first quarter loss, however, the reported retail segment net loss of $16.4 million is a $6.4 million, or 28.3 percent, improvement over the prior year,” the company said in a statement.

Gander Mountain said comparable store sales grew 7.4 percent for the quarter. However, excluding the impact of boat and ATV sales and powersport services, which are categories the company is in the process of exiting, comparable store sales were up even more — 12.8 percent during the quarter.

Fiscal 2009 first quarter consolidated sales were $227.7 million compared to consolidated sales of $207.7 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2008, a 9.6 percent increase.

Retail segment sales were $209.9 million, an increase of $21.9 million, as compared to the fiscal 2008 first quarter. Direct segment sales were $17.8 million for the quarter, compared to $19.7 million for the same quarter last year.

Retail segment net loss was $16.4 million compared to a retail net loss of $22.8 million for the first quarter last year, an improvement of 28.3 percent. The improvement resulted primarily from sales gains, improved leverage in SG&A and reduced interest expense. the company said.

At the end of the quarter, Gander Mountain had total debt of $308 million, lower than the prior year by $39 million.

“Strong comparable sales performance in our retail segment allowed Gander Mountain to report continued operating improvement, even during the slowest seasonal period in the hunt-fish-camp categories and in a difficult retail environment,” David C. Pratt, chairman and interim chief executive officer, said in a release. “We continue to apply a more disciplined approach to our operations, capital, and expense decisions.”

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